tv CNN Newsroom CNN April 15, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
in southern california, a late season snowstorm has given ski resorts an extra weekend of business. as much as a foot of snow fell in the inland empire mountains on the very weekend the slopes were supposed to close in southern california. just north of the border, newfoundland, a u.s. coast guard plane is diverted from a ceremony honoring the "titanic" had to scramble to help a french sailboat that was in trouble. and all is well. it is 5:00 p.m. on the east coast, 2:00 p.m. on the west. i'm gary tuchman in for fredricka whitfield. millions of americans from texas to wisconsin are being warned to be on guard as we speak, as severe weather threatens the region today and tonight. and this is what they're worried about. another tornado outbreak. 122 suspected twisters tore through four midwestern states this weekend, killing five people.
dozens of people were hurt. hundreds of homes were damaged, and destroyed. a live report in a hard-hit town in oklahoma is just ahead. but here is how one survivor in iowa described the storm. >> you know, it was no straight wind, it was a regular twister. the wind was just blasting out. the bathroom, like they always say, and while we got here, the roof went here. the good lord was with us. he sure was. it's about more than you can bear. >> we're glad larry hill is okay. the u.s. coast guard searching for four people missing from a yacht that ran aground during a race in san francisco. a massive wave hit the eight-person crew aboard the yaud called low-speed chase. then hit the rocks near the islands about 25 miles due west of san francisco. we're told one person died, three others were rescued.
deadly attacks in the capital of afghanistan. insurgents targeted several key areas of kabul, including the embassy area. presidential palace and the parliament. the taliban claimed responsibility saying that it's the start of what they called their spring offensive. afghan officials say 19 insurgents were killed. ryan crocker, who is the u.s. ambassador to afghanistan, told our candy crowley the attacks may have been orchestrated by the haqqani network. >> the taliban are really good at issuing statements, less good at actually fighting. my guess, based on previous experience here, is that this is a haqqani network operation in the pakistani tribal areas. frankly, i don't think the taliban's good enough. >> now, take a look at these pictures. that was the grandview palace condos in fallsview, new york, in the catskills mountains. this is the second weekend in a
row a cats skills landmark has been destroyed by fire. the building is probably best known as the inspiration for the resort featured in the movie "dirty dancing." halifax, nova scotia, held a memorial service to remember the moment the "titanic" went down 100 years ago this very day. people gathered at a cemetery where more than 100 people who were aboard the ill-fated ship are buried. the service was part of a weekend of events remembering the "titanic." back now to the devastating aftermath of this weekend's massive tornado outbreak in the midwest. twisters touched down in four states. oklahoma was one, iowa two, nebraska three, and kansas four. all the fatalities were in one town. the town of woodward, oklahoma. my colleague meteorologist rob marciano joins us live now. how is it going there?
when we talked to you before, there were a lot of repairs going on. a lot of people sad and forlorn. >> reporter: feverish activity up until about ten minutes ago. a little shower and hail as well. we're getting intermittent showers. at one point a couple of dozen of family friends and neighbors helping out. this home that was really crushed by the tornado that came through here. a well-built home, 2,800 feet, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a family that's lived here for 19 years. we talked with the man of the house, who actually had an injury to his head. his grandson's head injured as well. his wife and son were in that rubble. but they managed to survive. how amazing is that. the storm itself came from this direction. talking to some of the weather folks here, the national weather service folks who are surveying the damage, they say at least an
ef-2, and in some cases ef-3 damage. it was a narrow tornado but it was a strong tornado for sure. as you mentioned, five fatalities here in woodward. there's 12 counties in the state of oklahoma that are under a state of emergency. so this state, especially the western part of it, certainly very, very hard hit by this storm. this is one of three storms that came through this town during the day yesterday. two of which we actually chased during the afternoon, up near the kansas/oklahoma border. they dropped tornadoes up there as well. so well organized structures. but the last one, gary, came at night, after midnight. in some cases some of these -- the people here didn't have power. and didn't necessarily get the warning. so that's a bit of an issue as well. and one of the reasons that we see 29 injuries on top of those fatalities. but as of now, or as of earlier today, most everybody was accounted for. >> incredible, rob. ef-2, when you see the immense
damage there. and it just shows you how catastrophically powerful ef-4s and ef-5s are. you were talking about the five people who died in town, two of them children, how are the people in town dealing with the tragedy? >> reporter: you've been in this situation, gary. every time i'm struck by the resilience of the folks here. certainly you come across people who are incredibly emotional. the ones that have personal attachments to those who are injured or killed. but those that survived, and even with injuries, and complete loss of their property, it's amazing to see the spirit and see the community come forward and help those people that got hit more than others. i'll say this about this particular strike. it was one of those cases where, you know, the house on one side of the street, completely blown away. the house on the other street virtually untouched. so there are people here who have thewhere withal to help
those who didn't fare as well. >> rob marciano, coming to us from the small town in oklahoma who suffered so much. in iowa now, take a look at these pictures we'll show you from a tiny town also. thurman, iowa. a tornado leveled a town of about 300 people. listen as one homeowner describes the terror of this storm. >> we heard the sirens, probably five minutes before it really picked up. so we were trying, okay, get the kids downstairs. it was more like, oh, my god, we've got to get downstairs. the windows were blowing out. it was just panicky. there's just glass everywhere. there was stuff off our wall. there's grass just plastered. we had a house fire and lost our first house. it's like, really? i don't think i can do this again. >> let's bring in jacqui jeras in the weather center. is the threat over now? >> for those folks it is, but the threat is just beginning for places like minneapolis, st. paul. a tornado watch has been issued
across much of southern minnesota, extreme northern iowa and parts of wisconsin. a tower cam we have from the affiliate kr-11 tv in the twin cities, you can see downtown minneapolis. there you can see the mississippi river. 72 degrees in april for you, minnesota. tomorrow, we're going to be seeing that big temperature drop after the storms move through tonight. you'll only be seeing temperatures in the mid-40s for a high. a big change there. even northern minnesota into the arrowhead will likely see some snow before tonight is over and done with. we're also keeping our eye on a line of thunderstorms here across parts of arkansas and into central parts of missouri. we've had isolated severe storms within this line, producing winds around 60 miles per hour. so that can cause a lot of damage, and the whole threat area that we're going to be talking about through this evening and into tonight stretches from the upper midwest all the way down to the gulf coast.
so even houston can see some strong storms, as well as st. louis, and maybe even chicago and milwaukee late tonight. so we'll continue to monitor that situation. and the storm continues into tomorrow, too, by the way, across parts of the ohio valley and eastern great lakes. just circling back for the big outbreak from yesterday, we had tornadoes on friday, too, by the way, this map shows you all of the rotation that we saw and thunderstorms the last two days, and really gives you a picture of how many large long track tornadoes that were out there. gary? >> it is the middle of tornado season, and jacqui, we're only a month and a half away from hurricane season, june 1st. >> i know. >> a lot more on that a little bit later. jacqui, thank you very much. today has been a very bad day in afghanistan. insurgents attacked kabul's embassy areas, and there was a fire at the parliament. there was explosions at the parliament and central palace. and two women killed in brazil. police say this is a horrifying
story, that they may have been the victims of cannibals. those stories are coming up.quie . ♪ [ sneezes ] [ male announcer ] you may be an allergy muddler. try zyrtec®. it gives you powerful allergy relief. and zyrtec® is different than claritin® because zyrtec® starts working at hour 1 on the first day you take it. claritin® doesn't start working until hour 3. [ sneezes ] [ male announcer ] zyrtec®. love the air. [ female announcer ] this week only, save up to $11 on zyrtec® products. see sunday's newspaper.
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mohammed, what is the latest? >> reporter: in the last few minutes we've heard more very loud blasts here in central kabul. at this point we've heard about 5 in the last ten minutes or so. they do sound close. we were told just a couple of hours ago that there were still attacks going on in central kabul. a spokesperson for the interior ministry said there was another blast just now, i don't know if you heard it or not, but we were told a couple of hours ago that there were insurgents holed up in abandoned buildings in this part of the city and afghan security forces were launching grenades trying to get the insurgents out of those buildings so they could arrest them. we've not heard an update on the status of that. but what we've heard in the last few mists clearly suggests these operations are far from over and these attacks indeed are still going on. the attacks started around 1:15 local today. it's now just about 1:15 a.m.,
so 12 hours, and it seems the attacks still going on. a very worrying day, a very chaotic day, volatile day for afghanistan. four different provinces attacked. the taliban has claimed responsibility. but it's here in kabul, in such a heavily for ti fied district that they've taken so much damage today. u.s. officials and nato officials and afghan officials have praised the security forces here today in repelling these attacks. it makes people question how were these insurgents able to infiltrate such a heavily forth i fied area of the city. >> obviously this is a frightening time for you and everyone else in the capital. we're all used to hearing about violence in afghanistan. but it's relatively rare to have such prolonged attacks in the capital of kabul, correct?
>> reporter: absolutely. we've seen in the past year and a half that the taliban and the haqqani network have stepped up their attacks against they heavily fort i fied parts of the city. they've gone after diplomatic facilities. but this is rare. several months ago you had the siege of the american embassy. that was a very long siege. that lasted for many, many hours. but it's been a while since we've seen something like this. and the fact that 12 hours we're still hearing very loud blasts, it is very concerning for the citizens of kabul. and it was so chaotic in this neighborhood today, we saw civilians running, trying to take cover, and afghan security forces were doing the best they could to try to respond to these attacks. gary? >> have you experienced something like this in kabul, the capital before, as a reporter, mohammed? >> reporter: no, i haven't, gary. i've been here when there have been attacks close to central kabul.
but nothing like this. nothing as sustained. it's certainly a risk, this kind of volatility can happen here very quickly. and clearly the insurgents trying to demonstrate that they have reached -- they have the means to carry out these attacks, and really announce that they are ready to keep their campaign going. and that they are targeting kabul. but no, this is the first time that i've experienced something so sustained in the capital. it is very worrying. we do want to make sure that the team is safe. that's why right now we're not doing this live shot for you. but yes, this is the first time we've experienced something quite this sustained here in the capital. gary? >> you're live on the telephone, very valuable, although troubling information. please take care of everyone with our crew, and we wish you the best, mohammed. thank you for joining us in this troubling situation. modern-day cannibalism. police say they killed women -- this is an unbelievable story,
but it's a true story. they used their flesh to make stuffed pastries. they may have sold them to people. we'll have the story with our correspondent in brazil right after this. i've had surgery and yes, i have occasional constipation. that's why i take doctor recommended colace® capsules. i have hemorrhoids and yes, i have constipation. that's why i take colace®. [ male announcer ] for occasional constipation associated with certain medical conditions, there's colace® capsules. colace® softens the stool and helps eliminate the need to strain. stimulant-free, comfortable relief. no wonder more doctors recommend it. say yes to colace®!
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claim the trio killed at least two women and used their flesh to make stuffed empanada. it is really unbelievable. cnn international correspondent shasta darlington is joining us from zoo zoo sao paulo. >> reporter: i know it's unbelievable, but the suspects are a 51-year-old man, his wife and much younger mistress. according to police they belong to a cult that wanted to purify the world and reduce the population. they said they were following the instructions of the voices in their head. so they basically lured young women to their house in brazil by promising a job as a nanny. they killed them and chopped up their bodies, and this does get pretty gruesome. they even ate some of the flesh and internal organs.
police say they've confessed to the crimes. and one of the suspects even wrote a book basically telling the story of one of the murders, and the cannibalism. it was called revelations of a schizophrenic. police were first alerted when the suspects tried to use a credit card belonging to a victim who disappeared last month. not a smart thing to do. when the police got to their house, they were living with a little 5-year-old girl who was able to take them to the backyard where they found the remains of two young women, gary. >> i've met a lot of crazy people in this job, shasta, and this is certainly at the top of the allegations. one of the suspects made pastries and may have sold them, what can you tell us about that? >> reporter: well, that's right, gary, that's what they confessed to doing. it's definitely the most disturbing part of this whole story. negro ponte's wife was known for these little meat pies.
she sold them to the neighbors. during her deposition with the police, she told them that they used the flesh of their victims to stuff these meat pies. then they sold them on the street. she sold them to local schools and even hospitals. and apparently during the deposition she looked up at one of the policemen and said, hey, i've even sold them to you. can you just imagine what's going through these people's heads in this little town, gary is this. >> shasta, a final question. police are saying the number of victims may grow, is that true? >> reporter: absolutely. as we mentioned, they found the remains of two women in the backyard. they believed that this little girl living with them is the daughter of another victim. and they say that by the time the investigation is over, they expect they will have had more than ten victims. >> shasta darlington, formerly our correspondent in cuba, now in brazil. thank you very much. very disturbing story. it's now time for a check on what's happening in the week ahead. congress back in session tomorrow. and one of the main things congress will be talking about is the so-called buffett rule.
a proposal to impose at least 30% income tax on americans making more than $1 million a year. another swing for prosecutors trying to convict former pitching great roger clemens. he heads back to court for a retrial for using performance-enhancing drugs. new orleans saints head coach sean payton begins his year-long suspension tomorrow for the bounty program that happened on his watch. joe vitt will take over as the new orleans saints head coach. the summit of the americas is overshadowed by the scandal that erupted with the sufficient secret service. 11 agents and uniformed officers from president obama's advanced detail were sent home from colombia and put on leave after allegedly having contact with prostitutes at a hotel in the northern colombia city of cartegena. service members providing support have been confined to quarters after allegations surfaced over what military commanders right now are calling inappropriate behavior. joining me now live, ralph, the
principal at the command consulting group, also the former director of the u.s. secret service. a good man to have with us right now. what was your gut reaction when you heard the news out of colombia? >> gary, obviously it was very disturbing. and very embarrassing for the secret service. the men and women there that do such an incredible job every day. and it's just a very unfortunate incident and not something you see or hear about every day. >> director, i think it's really important to point out, this is an amazing organization with amazing men and women that work there. >> that it is. >> how do you think the situation has been hamd so far? >> first of all, i think the situation has been handled extremely well. i think the director and his team, as soon as they learned of this incident, they responded immediately. they pulled those agents out of colombia, brought them back to
the united states. brought them to washington to start the investigation. and they did that primarily because i feel that if those agents had been left there, it would have been a huge distraction for them. it would have been a huge distraction for those people around them, trying to anticipate what was going to happen, what kind of disciplinary action might be coming, and that's something we cannot afford to have as agents distracted when they're in the responsibility of protecting the president of the united states. >> director, what is the policy when you're an agent on a trip like this? obviously this is wrong. and i asked this question earlier to someone else during our program, but can agents go out to a bar for beer, can they go out dancing, sight-seeing? what are they allowed to do on trips like this? >> certainly they are under a tremendous amount of stress on these types of trips. and at the end of the day, they're no different than anyone else. they go, they try to relax. and try to end their day on sort
of a positive note. and be ready for the next day. obviously this kind of conduct is not acceptable. it's totally unprofessional. and the secret service teaches and talks to its agents about the -- not being the front cover of a newspaper or being the lead story on national news events. they are there to be behind the scenes, and provide support, and provide protection to the president of the united states. but they're no different than anyone else. at the end of the day they like to relax. so that's what they do. >> director, does this concern you that this could tarnish the reputation of a great organization? >> well, certainly, it's of great concern. it's a huge embarrassment. but i think if you look at the entire record in the history of the secret service, this is an anomaly. and as a matter of fact, that's why this is an anomaly, because
it doesn't happen with an organization like the secret service. they want to get this investigation conducted. they want it do a thorough investigation. they want to determine the facts. then they will determine what the proper disciplinary action should be and then get on with the critical mission that they are charged with. they're in the middle of a campaign. they don't need this sort of distraction. >> director ralph basham, we appreciate you giving us that insight. thank you, sir. >> thank you, gary. before we talk about that, we do want to tell you that president obama is in colombia this weekend, the summit of americas. that's where this all happened. we want to keep updating you, there was supposed to be a news conference at 4:30 eastern time. it should happen at any minute. he will be with the president of columbia, juan manuel santos. a joint briefing with the president of colombia and the
president of the united states. the economy steadily recovering, but the latest unemployment job numbers still paint a picture of uncertainty. many college students are keeping that in mind now to strategically choose their majors because of the economy. here's christine romans with "smart is the new rich." >> laura isn't worried about finding a job after graduation. >> i've always been into science. never knew exactly what, but now i'm pretty sure i want to work in genetics. >> a bioscience major, she was in the fast growing and high paying stem category. science technology, engineering and math. >> a fairly neutral term. >> her classmate, michael kelly, a history buff, doesn't share her love for science. >> i was just dead set on history. didn't want to major in anything else. >> he loves history, but will minor in it instead. his degree will be in technology studies, so he can pursue a job in information technology. >> i didn't want to finish
school with no debt and immediately jump into a situation where i have a lot of debt for paying off the master's agree. >> kel write well knows starting salaries for general studies lag stem. the difference between, say, engineering and psychology is huge. >> if you're studying to be a petroleum engineer and you've got a bachelor's degree, you'll make $80,000 a year, if you're studying psychology and going to become a counselor and a social work agency, you'll make $30,000 a year. so what you make depends very much on what you take. >> but dollar signs aren't everything. find the intersection of what you're good at, like to do and what someone will pay you to do. nancy is chancellor of this state university of new york. >> what we know is that business is an industry saying we want creative people, we want problem solvers, we want people who can work in teams. the trick, i think, is sort of a
dual degree or major/minor where you cover your bases. >> students laura and mike think they've done just that and that their degree will help them land a secure job in a less than secure job market. christine romans, cnn, new york. in america, we believe in a future that is better than today. since 1894, ameriprise financial has been working hard for their clients' futures. never taking a bailout. helping generations achieve dreams. buy homes. put their kids through college. retire how they want to. ameriprise. the strength of america's largest financial planning company. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you, one-to-one. together, for your future. ♪
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we take you now live to cartegena, colombia, on the northern coast of colombia. this is the president of the country, juan manuel santos. he is with barack obama who is not in the picture right now. each president will make comments about the just concluded summit of americas. president obama is not talking yet. when he starts talking, president barack obama, we'll bring the event to you live. meanwhile, we check today's top stories. 12 oklahoma counties are under a state of emergency after tornadoes ripped through the state this weekend. five people were killed in one small town. woodward, oklahoma.
dozens of people were hurt. twisters also touched down in iowa, nebraska and kansas. in afghanistan, our crew has heard several explosions in the last few minutes. and these are explosions from earlier in the today. insurgents targeting key areas of kabul all day in a well-planned series of attacks. the taliban claim responsibility, calling it the start of their spring offensive. afghan security forces did react quickly to the initial explosions. officials say at least 19 insurgents were killed. and one of their targets was afghanistan's second vice president but he's fine. the u.s. is praising afghan forces. the explosions are still occurring and they're occurring in the capital of kabul where violence is relatively speaking, when we say relatively, it's much more common than in most cities, but in afghanistan the violence in the capital is relatively rare. north korea's new leader, kim jong-un, spoke for the first
time on television in a celebration to commemorate his great grandfather's 100th birthday, and the significance of north korea's military. he vows to never let the country starve again. this year's presidential contest really does come down to romney versus obama, as we expect, the next candidate will come down to the ivy league. it's been 2 years since we've elected someone who isn't an ivy league graduate. bob green is a cnn contributor. we do want to talk to you about the very interesting statistic that has left you wondering, why are there no presidents, and we've had 43 men, this is the 44th president, grover cleveland was president twice, how come none of us men have been from big ten schools? >> gerald ford was president, but he was never elected. and if you ever talk to mr.
ford, he was very open about the fact that he was hurt by that. and he remembered it his whole life. he became president, and then when he ran he was defeated by jimmy carter who went to, among other places, georgia tech and the u.s. naval academy. but when it occurred to me that it has been 28 years since americans have elected a president who did not go to an ivy league school, those of us who went to big ten schools, i thought i would look up the history of that and find out how many presidents were elected from big ten schools. and none. zero. it makes no sense. >> so if the big ten isn't producing presidents, we know the big ten schools are great schools, what are they producing? >> oh, it's terrific. that's why it's so puzzling. great faculties, and middle of the country, national renowned. neil armstrong, purdue, first person to step onto the moon. jack wellch, ran general electric during the glory years. george gallup, university of
iowa, started the legendary polling firm. james earl jones, michigan, wonderful actor. arthur goldberg. you would think it was like a chicago cubs deal. except the cubs, even though it's been a century, they did win a world series. or susan lucci deal, the soap opera actor, after years of being passed over, she got her emmy. there's something at work here that doesn't really figure. >> bob, you're talking to a huge cubs fan. it's been 104 years since the cubs -- >> right. but they did win the world series. i spoke to the president of the university of iowa, sally mason, who told me this, to quote, i think she said to quote b.b. king, maybe it's just a matter of time. so i think that's what they're waiting for. >> by the way, i promised to ask you, where did you go to school? >> northwestern. >> big ten also.
>> which they told us was the harvard of the big ten. >> amazing institution right on lake michigan there. what about all the presidents who either didn't finish college or come from the little colleges that a lot of people haven't heard of? >> well, there were many presidents, including richard nixon and ronald reagan who went to very small colleges. nine united states presidents either never attended college or didn't graduate, including some pretty good ones. abraham lincoln and harry truman. you would think with all that, the big ten statistically would have a whole group of presidents. but they never have yet. the presidents and chancellors, there is a big ten board of chancellors and presidents. the ones i spoke to said it's coming soon. >> gerald ford went to the university of michigan, so let's give credit to the big ten presidents. >> absolutely. >> thank you for joining us. >> thanks so much, gary. >> go cubs, by the way, you know.
maybe after 104 years we'll have some luck. when we come back, we'll try to bring you to cartegena, colombia, where right now president barack obama is ready to start talking at the summit of americas, and will take questions, including the scandal that occurred with the secret service. we hope you'll stay with us. with the ability to improve roi through seo all by cob. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle... and go. you can even take a full-size or above, and still pay the mid-size price. i'm going b-i-g. [ male announcer ] good choice business pro. good choice. go national. go like a pro.
parts of the midwestern states, tornadoes tore through the region this weeksd. five people killed. in the state of oklahoma. and kansas was also hit hard. that's where cnn's susan candiotti is reporting. she's in wichita. >> reporter: the scores of twisters that pummeled kansas mainly stuck to rural areas, except for wichita. and one of the worst storms hit a mobile home park that had about 100 structures, about a quarter of them were destroyed. another two dozen heavily damaged. there were no fatalities, incredibly. search and rescue teams began their work on saturday night, and continued well into sunday. >> it's just devastation. these are people's lives, you know. people's lives that are laying here in big piles. what we try to do is be as respectful as possible while
we're looking through it. and just to make sure that we're taking care of lives and property. >> reporter: when you look at the extent of all this damage, it is hard to believe that the most serious injury that someone suffered here was a broken leg. to make sure everyone was accounted for, the fire department used search and rescue dogs, and police and firefighters also went door to door. two things really helped. number one, they had advanced warning of these severe storms. at least two days ahead of time. that, and the use of sirens, the night of the storm, really put people on notice, and they paid attention. >> it was a little bit unprecedented for this area to have the national weather service come out and tell us that, you know, tomorrow be ready. and so we were. we had everything ready and in place. and i think everybody was super vigilant. especially in this part of the country, because we have to be. >> reporter: what also helped save lives in the mobile home park, there were shelters for people to go to, to ride out the storm, and many did.
susan candiotti, cnn, wichita, kansas. >> barack obama has now begun speaking at the news conference following the summit of the americas in colombia. but we have an interesting situation here. the pool feed we're getting from colombia, we hear the spanish translation of the president of the united states and we don't hear the english coming out of his mouth. so as soon as we hear the english so we can understand what barack obama has to say, we'll bring it to you. we want to tell you folks exactly what's going on. we can hear him in spanish, not yet in english.
jeras has those pictures. our viewers are so great when they send us pictures and video. >> it's amazing. let's roll it and we'll talk about that. this is from benjamin, and he was in burdette, kansas, actually shooting over the state line in oklahoma. this is the same woodward storm we were talking about, that unfortunately was fatal. and at the time that benjamin was shooting this, look at that. we call that a stovepipe tornado. certainly capable of causing a fair amount of damage at the time that he shot this. it happened to be in a hurl area. he felt fortunate as it crossed over into kansas. i've got to put on my mom hat for a second. we love your ireports. we appreciate them. and we value them. but we value your life more than we value your picture. so we want you to be careful and play storm chaser out there, and make sure you're in a safe place
when you're doing things like that. or wait until the storm is over and shoot it after. >> jacqui, thank you very much. we appreciate that. >> sure. the president of the united states is now speaking in english. so we want to go to the news conference in cartegena, colombia, so we can hear what president obama has to say. >> president santos, thank you, to you, for your leadership. thank you to the people of cartegena. and the people of colombia for this outstanding summit. and your great hospitality. the warmth that you extended us and the other leaders who gathered here. it makes me very confident about colombia's future. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> there are some questions. rcn, juan carlos, you have a question.
>> presidents, good afternoon, president obama. today at the closing of the summit of the americas, there was great expectation, because we never -- you never came up with a document that would reflect a decision, and many people would say that cuba and the marina issue was not taken up as it should have. does this have to do in any way with the electoral environment, the electoral situation in the united states, and president santos, today that the state department announced a new security plan for the region. what benefits do you see coming from this pran? thank you very much. >> first of all, what it reflects is a lack of consensus among those who participated in the summit. the issue of cuba i've discussed before. since i came into office, we have made changes to our cuba policy. we've increased remittances that are permissible from cuban-americans sending money to
their families to help support them back home. we've increased travel by family members to cuba. and we have discussed in the oas the pathway whereby cuba can fully participate in some of these regional forums. but the fact of the matter is that cuba, unlike the other countries that are participating, has not yet moved to democracy. has not yet observed basic human rights. i am hopeful that a transition begins to take place inside of cuba. and i assure you that i and the american people will welcome the time when the cuban people have the freedom to live their lives, choose their leaders, and fully participate in this global economy, and international institutions.
we haven't gotten there yet. but as i indicated to president santos and all the other leaders sitting around the table, we recognize that there may be an opportunity in the coming years as cuba begins to look at where it needs to go in order to give its people the kind of prosperity and opportunity that it needs, that it starts loosening up some of the constraints within that country. and that's something that we will welcome. i'm not somebody who brings to the table here a lot of baggage from the past. and i want to look at all these problems in a new and fresh way. but i also deeply believe in those principles that are contained, not just in the oas charter, but in the united nations charter, that respect
for individuals, respect for rule of law, respect for human rights, that i think is part of the reason that we're seeing an incredible transformation here in colombia. and in terms of the and we are looking forward to them being able to continue to dialogue in this issue but this is not something that we typically intervene in. tro
>> i would like to repeat one thing that i said. early this afternoon, we ultimately discuss all the issues. all issues. before, there were some issues that fwarnerred agreement. and yet other issues was an open candid discussion. it was fully respectful and productive, i would say. in the aftermath of this summit we will have a better understanding of these challenges. some will be solved in the short term, others in the longer term. that is only natural. and the summits such as these where it's 33 countries participate, each one bringing to the table their own interest,
each one bringing their own prisonment through which they look at things. we have a very close coordination. perhaps we don't have this close relationship with any other country in the world. we have learned from each other. they have helped us a great deal. as i said before, not just the amount of money but the quality of the assistance. to us, that was very important anything that we can do, along that road to improve security in the united states and columbia and share our experiences will be more than welcomed.
address this as well. i am curious as to why you made drug trafficking such a prominent part of this summit when it could be argued that it detracted some from the attention you wanted to bring to the dwraet progress that columbia has made. thank you. >> first of all, my position on cuba has been consistent. it has not waivered before i was elected the first time. it didn't change after i was elected for president and it hasn't changed now. so let me repeat. i want the people of cuba like people throughout this hemisphere to have the opportunity to work to raise their families, to start a
business. to express themselves. to criticize their leaders. something that we in america take full advantage of. and to replace them if they are not working. which is presumably thes a pie ration of most people. i am sometimes puzzled by the degree of which the countries themselves have undergone enormous transformation. that have known the oppression of dictatorships. found themselves on the wrong side of a ruling elite and have suffered for it. why we would ignore that same principle here. but, you know i tend to be an
optimistic person. it is my hope that as cuba looking at what is happening in countries like columbia and brazil they will start thinking maybe there is a new path to take. they will have a welcome hand extended by the united states of america. on the secret service, these men and women perform extraordinary service protecting me, my family, u.s. officials. they do very hard work under stressful circumstances.
i am grateful for the work that they do what happened here is being investigated by the director of the secret service. i expect that investigation to be thorough and rigorous. my attitude with respect to the secret service personnel is no different than what i expect out of my delegation that is sitting here. we are representing the people of the united states. and when we travel to another country, i expect us to observe the highest standards. because we're not just representing ourselves. we're here on behalf of our people. and that means that we conduct
ourselves with the utmost dignity. what has been reported does not match up with those standards. again, i will wait until the full investigation is completed until i pass final judgment. the final pointly make just on the issue that you raised with president santos about the issue of drug trafficking. i think it is wholly appropriate to discuss the issue. columbia has gone through a wrenching number of years dealing with this issue. it has been successful because of the courage and leadership
they are smaller, had fewer resources and starting to feel overwhelmed. obviously we are following what has been happening in mexico. the violence is a consequence of these narco traffickers. it would not make sense for us not to examine what works and what doesn't. to constantly ask ourselves if there is something we can do to weaken these drug traffickers, to make sure that they are not pedalling this stuff on our kids. i thought it was